Women entrepreneurship in India is somewhat of a touchy subject. In a land where they are generally perceived as home makers, with little to do with economy or commerce, the tide is slowly changing. Women entrepreneurship in India is gaining ground rapidly, in the wake of blazing economic liberalization and globalization.
Koru Technologies is on a mission to change the ugly looking, unfriendly, complex enterprise applications that people use, into user friendly systems that enable people to love their job and help them do it better. This is what excites CEO and Founder Bansi Mehta, to get up every morning, and sometimes also keeps her up at night. With more than a decade in the field of User Experience, she is a self-driven leader who is an inspiration to many whose lives she has touched through design. She believes that life is worth living when there is a meaningful contribution to people around you and her happiness is drawn from the fact that what she does ultimately helps someone live a better life. Her passion drives her and it extends in her team at Koru Technologies.
In a tete-a-tete with Techstory, Bansi Mehta opens about the inspiration behind Koru Technologies and her experiences with women entrepreneurship in India.
What inspired you to startup? Why should the younger generation aspire to be in this role?
What inspired me to start my company – Koru Technologies – was a realization that I am capable of doing more than what I am doing, which came from my coach at the time – Naren. Women entrepreneurship in India has its challenges, but he believed in me more than I did myself and I took up the challenge to prove him right. Starting my own company has built the right kind of pressure; it keeps me on my toes and pushes me to do more, every single day. It has given me a sense of purpose and a playground where nothing stops me except myself. I can play as hard as I want.
What are some of your key priorities for your people?
Be very ambitious and aspire my team to dream big.
Women entrepreneurship in India would be impossible if not for a great team. I strongly believe it is a moral responsibility of good people to be ambitious, do more, and demand more. That is the only way the good can keep a check on evil. I consciously dream, and then make goals out of them so those dreams can actually come alive. This also ensures that people around me do not get bored; there is so much happening, the party never ends.
Building a happy, positive and efficient work place.
Same people behave and perform differently in different environments. So creating the environment that fosters trust and growth for everyone is one of the high priority items for me. Women entrepreneurship in India is persistent hard work and demands continual improvement. It challenges me to become a better leader and better person.
What are some of the biggest tech challenges that the world faces today? What do you think are some of the most important problems that the world will end up working on for the next 20 years?
There are various roles of technology and the way people perceive them. The sheer excitement to know what more can be done with it keeps unfolding new possibilities with their fair share of boons and banes. Technology today still is a computer, it is able to calculate and provide insights that enable decision making. We have now sought to advance this capability and I believe that is the challenge at hand. Siri, Cortana, Alexa are toddlers today but one can clearly see the possibilities through their eyes. On the other hand technology is working tirelessly to put an end to the oil age. Technology will come into play to restore a balance across all systems so they can all work in harmony – Healthcare with Welfare, Finance with Governance. Humans are unable to maintain consistency in large scale systems.
We will need to work hard to take aid from the future tech to control the disruption that our inconsistencies have caused and bring a balance across all ecosystems. This would be a fair expectation to have from technology and I believe that would be our cumulative challenge and goal.
What would be your message to young women trying to get into the field of technology?
I can only inspire them by bringing a perspective. Technology is more than a career. It is the future and it is irreplaceable. Technology can fast forward not years but decades and what is more wonderful than to experience a few lifetimes in a single one?
Women entrepreneurship in India is gaining momentum at a good pace. There exist a plethora of successful business women, both in social and economic fields, in India. Women are leaving the workforce in droves in favour of being at home. Not to be a homemaker, but to join the movement of women entrepreneurship in India. This has changed the demographic characteristics of business and economic growth of the country. Women-owned businesses enterprises are playing a more active role in society.
Women entrepreneurship in India empowers you to do more than being an observer. You can make it happen. It’s the most powerful weapon you can possess and use it at will. Do not take it lightly. Pursue it with your entire being and master it.
What would be your advice now to your 20-year- old self?
I would advise her to listen to her inner voice, to not take decisions rationally but to follow her heart, to challenge the status quo and not get bullied by the rules, restrictions and chatter all around her. I would challenge her to ask herself, would she do this if she did not fear anything and had no restrictions? I would also guide her with a few specifics
Get coached – physically and mentally.
A good coaching does not only make us strong and sharp, but it can also help us unlearn the years of conditioning that is capable of pulling us and slowing us down. This is essential for women entrepreneurship in India, to redefine the lines that society and the world perceives you by. When your body and mind are functioning at their peak and are in rhythm, beautiful things happen.
Give yourself tons of exposure.
Women entrepreneurship in India needs you to look beyond. This is not the phase of life when you shut yourself from things around you, it’s exactly the opposite. Give yourself as many new experiences as possible. Do not let anything force you in one place, locked you in one mindset. You will definitely get good experiences and bad ones too but that’s the deal, and that is what makes women entrepreneurship in India possible. We can appreciate and choose the ‘good’ for us only when we know what the ‘not-so-good’ looks like.
Beautiful questions can lead us to extraordinary realization and help us make critical decision. And women entrepreneurship in India is rooted in curiosity. This is the age to be curious, to have the questions and then seek answers for them. Meet different people, ask them their perspective. Read, research and debate. Try a few things yourself. Learn and analyse, and at the end of the day, this is what makes women entrepreneurship in India possible.
Be true to yourself.
Each one of us is unique and being true to ourselves is the easiest way to stand out. And standing out is necessary to thrive in the field of women entrepreneurship in India. Be original, this will guide you to where you truly belong and you will be surprised how it will naturally feed you with energy and motivation. On the other hand, constantly strive to make yourself better, demand more out of yourself and do things to succeed in life.
Technology as a field is predominantly dominated by men. Are you seeing this trend changing?
We certainly have come far but there is a long way to go still. We can’t force the phenomena. Temporary solutions won’t take us far. Rather, educating people around us, in whatever capability we can, to give them fresh new perspective is how we can start changing it for good and on a permanent scale. The policy and institutional framework for developing entrepreneurial skills, providing vocation education and training has widened the horizon for women entrepreneurship in India, but there is a long way to go yet.
Rooting for women entrepreneurship in India means different things for different people. For companies it means an opportunity to bring fresh perspective and more work forces to choose from. For men, women entrepreneurship in India means supporting the women around them and taking a conscious decision to stop being a spectator. For women in technology fields, it means more women to support and get support from. For women in leadership positions, women entrepreneurship in India means encouraging fellow women to lean in and take up the mantle.
For this bigger good of women entrepreneurship in India, if some of us have to take the heat and set an example – we should happily do that. Many men and women have done it in past which has enabled us to reach this far. Our ideal goal should be to provide all genders with a fair playground to grab opportunities and Succeed.
What would be your message to all the women trying to climb the corporate ladder – especially in terms of striking a balance?
As part of the women entrepreneurship in India movement, I would say that my journey was as difficult as it could get, be it men or women. If we ask for equality, we also need to push ourselves equally. To facilitate women entrepreneurship in India, every time an opportunity presents itself, instead of doubting ourselves and taking a step back, we need to grab it with full confidence.
Far too many women, instead of leaning in, take a step back at the crucial turns of their careers and this takes a toll in a longer run. Many times we actually slam the brakes well before it is time, for example, turning down a promotion because you are planning a baby next year or getting married or moving to a new home or because it requires relocation for the entire family. These are the moments when we need to push hard and ask ourselves, is it really time and is there no way both can co-exist. Only then can women entrepreneurship in India reach its full potential?
My personal experience says that there can be a balance, provided we make smarter choices, build a support system around us, stay determined and remain focused.
Also Read: Dear Women, Empowerment Comes From Within !
There is a lot of debate around whether or not women can have it all – your comments on the same!
We can have what we want, but it certainly demands that we stay firm, and determined. Women entrepreneurship in India is no easy journey. There are hard choices to make on almost daily basis and one choice at a time is what takes me towards where I want to be. It breaks my heart equally to see those cute, needy eyes of my 2 yr old who asks me to stay with him and in those moments I make a hard choice, I remind myself that I also have a moral responsibility as a capable human being. I must do justice to what I aspire to achieve and the potential I carry within me.
Making hard choices are difficult in the beginning, and even trivial things can breakout rage and tension around you – but if you keep up for long enough, people around you start to accept that you won’t quit and eventually, they stop bothering you, in fact some of them may also start looking at you as an inspiration. On the other hand, over the period of time, the internal battle we fight with our own self’s, calms down and making the right choice becomes more natural.
So yes, you can have it all but there is a price to pay. The question is whether you are willing to pay it.